O'HARE — Police reportedly are investigating a scam in which a University of Illinois student from China was charged more than $4,000 for a ride from O'Hare Airport to Downstate Champaign.
The suspect is a white man, about 5 feet 9 inches tall, with a medium build and light-colored hair, university police told the News-Gazette.
U. of I. police Sgt. Tom Geis told the paper that the 18-year-old Chinese student, who has limited command of English, arrived at O'Hare around 6 p.m. on Aug. 20 and was told by the suspect that a bus to Champaign would not leave until midnight.
The man then offered to drive the student to the university for $1,000. The student agreed and the two traveled in what was described as a dark colored SUV, Geis said.
When the two arrived at a residence hall, the man demanded $4,800.
"The student said he didn't have that much so he gave him all he had," Geis told News-Gazette reporter Mary Schenk. That was figure was believed to be $4,240.
A web site designed to book taxi rides, www.worldtaximeter.com, says that riders should expect to pay $289 for a cab from O'Hare to Champaign, a 150 mile trip.
The U of I International Student and Scholar Services' transportation web page offers students a number of ways to get from O'Hare to the campus, recommending various bus lines which charge about $30 for a one-way trip.
Ed note: Update is here.